House of Moves: Animation Tools of Tomorrow
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House of Moves: Animation Tools of Tomorrow
15 August, 2016
Interview

House of Moves CEO Brian Rausch talked about the way modern animation capturing technologies are changing the way game developers and filmmakers produce their products.

Introduction

House of Moves is a Los Angeles-based full-service animation studio best known for motion capture work and its ability to deliver unrivaled quality. Most recently, the company secured a new patent, introduced new technology, launched breakthrough client projects, moved to a new larger headquarters location and won an award for their real-time presentation at SIGGRAPH in Anaheim, Calif.

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In late 2014, in order to fully exercise its creative freedoms and redefine how motion capture and animation services are delivered to the entertainment, gaming and commercial trade industries, House of Moves announced a management-led buyout from parent company OMG plc (LSE: OMG). Less than one year later, Rausch and the newly independent House of Moves revealed the groundbreaking technology suite, Helibug, a proprietary process that radically rethinks the production of both linear and interactive content creation. Helibug improves time and cost efficiencies and allows users to redistribute content across multiple mediums, including feature films, online content, commercials, games, virtual reality and more.

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Now leveraging two decades of experience and building on a rich history of delivering creative content, motion capture and animation solutions, House of Moves has been awarded a patent covering specific systems and methods for generating videos using animation and motion capture scene information.

Prior to earning the patent, House of Moves has used its cutting edge motion capture technology for brands and franchises that include: Titanic, Call of Duty®, TRON, Star Trek, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Battlefield, HALO, Mortal Kombat  and the breakthrough Barbie™ Vlog. In the last two years alone, House of Moves has been the partner of choice for more than 22 virtual reality projects, demonstrating growing demand for and thought leadership in delivering these next level endeavors.

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On July 26, House of Moves joined Epic Games, a leading video game and engine development company, and Ninja Theory, developer of the soon-to-be-released Hellblade video game, at SIGGRAPH in Anaheim. House of Moves demonstrated its real-time body motion capture as part of a spotlight presentation and earned the SIGGRAPH Award for Best Real-Time Graphics and Interactivity for the scene based on Hellblade, titled “From Previs to Final in Five Minutes: A Breakthrough in Live Performance Capture”.

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You can check out company’s client list here

What are the biggest changes in the modern animation that have occurred during the last couple of years? How did animation change during the time you’ve been working with it? What are the biggest changes?

The biggest changes have been the strong adoption of Virtual Production and Realtime Rendering. Using the Helibug toolset were expanding on both of these. HOM has successfully closed the gap between stage and final scene. We’re recognizing massive increases in production and flexibility.

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How does the animation process usually look? Does the client come to you with the ready concept, or do you have to work out everything yourself?

This is one of the strengths of House of Moves. We have the ability to run your production or ride along in your production. Specifically what I mean by this is some clients come to us with a full-fledged idea and all production assets are developed. House of Moves then inserts itself into our clients production pipeline, delivers a specific portion of the pipeline and then removes ourselves. On the other hand some clients come to us with an idea and nothing more, it then becomes up to us to design, implement and finalize their productions.

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You’re working a lot with the motion capture. Could you talk about the way this technology is being used today? I believe when it just started animators were really scared that it might leave them out of work, but what’s the attitude to this tool today?

We are very well known for our motion capture work. The motion capture technology is ever expanding and we’re constantly finding new ways to use it. Some of the more interesting things we’re doing in motion capture today is the realtime implementation into game engines we’ve been doing. We’re then using mocap to drive lights, weather, cloth sim and much much more, it’s all very exciting.

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What are the ways people are working with facial animation these days? What is the best way to capture and edit this kind of animation?

Facial animation tends to break down into 3 solutions: keyframe, video and marker. Keyframing is still a part of both video and marker based capture but it can also stand alone and be driven by an animator. Video solutions are most often captured by using an HMC (Head Mount Camera), there are a lot of different solutions and vendors for hardware and software. On the marker based side we’re one of the only companies with enough cameras to still do this. Capturing with Markers is a high investment in optical camera architecture. House of Moves takes prides on being the “swiss army knife” of production. We work very hard to have all solutions available to ourselves and our clients.

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Why do you think animation is still so important for modern games? How do they work? What are the main things that animations allows to solve in games? Why does quality animation matter today?

Well, without animation nothing would move. You could procedurally drive things but the more you do that the more you move away from the human essence. Keyframe and Motion Capture does a very good job of instilling human in our games. This makes them more believable and thereby more interesting to play because we can connect with the content at a deeper level.

Brian Rausch, CEO at House of Moves

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev.

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